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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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Science, Colonialism, and Indigenous Peoples: The Cultural Politics of Law and Knowledge

ISBN13: 9780521119535
Published: October 2009
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £69.99

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At the intersection of indigenous studies, science studies, and legal studies lies a tense web of political issues of vital concern for the survival of indigenous nations. Numerous historians of science have documented the vital role of late-eighteenth- and nineteenth-century science as a part of statecraft, a means of extending empire. This book follows imperialism into the present, demonstrating how pursuit of knowledge of the natural world impacts, and is impacted by, indigenous peoples rather than nation-states. In extractive biocolonialism, the valued genetic resources, and associated agricultural and medicinal knowledge, of indigenous peoples are sought, legally converted into private intellectual property, transformed into commodities, and then placed for sale in genetic marketplaces. Science, Colonialism, and Indigenous Peoples critically examines these developments, demonstrating how contemporary relations between indigenous and Western knowledge systems continue to be shaped by the dynamics of power, the politics of property, and the apologetics of law.

  • Engages three interdisciplinary fields: indigenous studies, science studies, and legal studies
  • Interweaves the approach and concerns of indigenism together with the focus of both critical legal studies and critical science studies
  • Contextualizes legal, science, and indigenous theory in practice

  • Contents:
    Part I. Biocolonialism as Imperial Science:
    1. Imperialism then and now
    2. Indigenous knowledge, power and responsibilities
    3. Value-neutrality and value-bifurcation: the cultural politics of science
    Part II. The Human Genome Diversity Project: A Case Study:
    4. The rhetoric of research justification
    5. Indigenist critiques of biocolonialism
    Part III. Legitimation: The Rule and Role of Law:
    6. The commodification of knowledge
    7. Intellectual property rights as means and mechanism of imperialism
    8. Transforming sovereignties
    Conclusions: The politics of knowledge: resistance and recovery.